Sixty six years ago today my mother Betty had a life-changing event. At 9:30 in the morning of 22nd May 1949 a son, Michael, was born to her and her husband John. The first of three children who appeared at three-year intervals, Michael was joined by his brother in 1952 and his sister in 1955. Apparently this first baby was a very good and placid child but did cause a lot of concern as he was very slow developing, I think just lazy really, it was nine months before he was able to sit up without a cushion propped behind him and when my mother questioned his lack of progress to the staff at the clinic was told “This child will probably never walk”. Well he did, but was two years old before that happened, with the help of the services of a toy dog on wheels; another story for another day. This is the oldest photograph I can find of my mother and myself taken on 24th July 1949.
All through his schooldays the boy was equally lazy, or probably uninspired, preferring to play or daydream than concentrate on any work although he could remember bus registration numbers off by heart and knew every variation of their body style from a mile away but by his early teenage years was motivated mainly by his guitar and love of electrical equipment, radios, record players and amplifiers which he dabbled with constantly. Consequently, with so little academic application he left school with the very minimum of ‘O’ levels, just enough to get by. Did I mention he was also hopelessly coordinated with a ball? Avoiding coming into contact with any game involving a ball was top priority, he was just no good, throwing, catching, couldn’t do it, although he was nearly forty before he’d admit to that and consequently still holds no interest in anything ball related.
He turned out OK though, his first job as a houseparent at a holiday home for disabled children was the spark that ignited the flame which burned away any laziness and he involved himself enthusiastically in all aspects of his employment at the home. Indeed, his whole life revolved around this role and subsequent similar positions during the next decade or so, the previous childhood and teenage years of uninspired lethargy now forgotten.
The years mysteriously went by all too rapidly and now retired for the past four years the child born on this day is celebrating quietly at home writing this blog on a damp and dismal morning; later I shall go and visit my mother who, at nearly 91 years of age now enjoys the regular company of her great grand-daughter Bella, as seen here in a photo taken a few days ago by my sister on her iPad.
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s my birthday today!